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The Invitation by Lucy Foley
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The Invitation

by Lucy Foley

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I would love to go to Italy. I thought this book might take me there, but it only put me to sleep. The story was soooooo slooooooow. I can't even tell you what it was about. I'd read a sentence several times - my mind was wandering. It didn't keep my interest at all. DNF @ 34%. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
This story is set in Italy several years after WWII. Hal is an expat who is living overseas, struggling to even begin writing a novel and haunted by an incident in the war. He meets Stella and has one night of romance with her. Later, he meets Stella again and discovers she is married. What follows is the story of a repressed love affair full of secrets and also of sad circumstances of the past.

I love the writing, the story seemed a bit aloof at times, but was definitely a page turner. It was set in a beautiful location and the intrigue was addicting. I received a complementary e-book from the publisher. ( )
  melaniehope | Oct 19, 2016 |
Three story lines are interwoven in The Invitation, by Lucy Foley.

On the Italian Riviera in the 1950s, Hal Jacobs is an English journalist, struggling with scars from war and a broken engagement back home.
Quite by chance, he receives an invitation from a wealthy Contessa he had met previously, to join the famous, talented people she had selected to cruise from Italy to Cannes,publicizing her film, THE SEA CAPTAIN.
Why would a drifter, just barely making a living, be invited aboard?

Our second plot is the " backstory" of Stella, a beautiful New York matron who had a brief encounter with Hal, two years prior.
Her childhood setting is the late 1930s Spain.
Stella is currently aboard the Contessa's cruise.

At first, the narrative's tapestry seems improbable.
But the aura of mystery deepens with Hal's discovery of a 16th century sea captain's journal, detailing his obsession with a "ghostly" woman he rescues from the sea.

Once I became comfortable with the plot transitioning and began making connections, I enjoyed the read.
I saw it captioned somewhere as a "tragedy laced romance".
(Sorry, I don't recall where.)
But, that says it best for me.

3.5 ★

I received this uncorrected advance copy from Goodreads. ( )
  pennsylady | Jun 18, 2016 |
This is Lucy Foley's second book, following on from The Book of Lost and Found, which I loved. Hal Jacobs is a small-time journalist who is offered a unique job by an Italian Contessa: to accompany her and her guests on a yacht headed to Cannes to promote a film that she has been involved with. Stella is a woman on board who Hal has come across before and who he finds quite beguiling and before long he becomes involved with her.

I'm not sure why but this book just didn't completely engage me and I didn't feel a huge amount for the characters, despite some quite sad stories in their past. The setting is beautiful and the whole book has a very glamorous feel to it - 1950s, Italy, film stars, Cannes etc. The writing is elegant and understated and I think The Invitation will be a success for Lucy Foley. However, I did find myself quite pleased to come to the end of it, I'm afraid. ( )
  nicx27 | Apr 11, 2016 |
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To my darling mother, Sue, and father, Patrick: chief friend-maker and historian!
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Prologue: Essaouira feels like the end of the world.
Chapter One: Now the city is at its loveliest.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316273473, Hardcover)

An evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately--and dangerously--to hide.

Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself on the steps of a palazzo, walking into a world of privilege and light. Here, on a rooftop above the city, he meets the mysterious Stella. Hal and Stella are from different worlds, but their connection is magnetic. Together, they escape the crowded party and imagine a different life, even if it's just for a night. Yet Stella vanishes all too quickly, and Hal is certain their paths won't cross again.

But a year later they are unexpectedly thrown together, after Hal receives an invitation he cannot resist. An Italian Contessa asks him to assist on a trip of a lifetime--acting as a reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian coast toward Cannes film festival, the most famous artists and movie stars of the day gathered to promote a new film.

Of all the luminaries aboard--an Italian ingenue, an American star, a reclusive director--only one holds Hal in thrall: Stella. And while each has a past that belies the gilded surface, Stella has the most to hide. As Hal's obsession with Stella grows, he becomes determined to bring back the girl she once was, the girl who's been confined to history.

An irresistibly entertaining and atmospheric novel set in some of the world's most glamorous locales, THE INVITATION is a sultry love story about the ways in which the secrets of the past stay with us--no matter how much we try to escape them.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 18 Jun 2016 16:26:45 -0400)

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